How to Clean a Commercial Coffee Machine

/ Commercial Coffee Equipment, Preventative Maintenance & Cleaning / January 10

How to Clean a Commercial Coffee Machine

From restaurants to cafes, commercial coffee makers are a must in any large or small establishment. Unfortunately, hard water combined with regular usage can lead to high buildups of minerals and scale in the machine. This not only harms operation over time, but it also can affect the taste of your coffee.

To get the absolute best out your coffee maker, you should do a thorough cleaning every four to six weeks depending on the water quality in the area. Here are some universal tips for cleaning a commercial coffee machine.

Before you start, make sure to check the machine’s operation manual. There could be specific cleaning instructions suited for your specific model.

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Descaling a Commercial Coffee Machine

Descaling a coffee maker requires a cleaning solution that can effectively remove mineral and hard water deposits. Aside from commercial scale removers, there are a few natural cleaning agents that can descale different machines:


  • White vinegar – White vinegar is great base for a wide variety of cleaning solutions, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it can deep clean a commercial coffee maker too. Since it’s highly acidic, you’ll need to do a couple of rinse cycles after descaling to remove the vinegar traces from the machine.

  • Lemon juice – Lemon juice has high acidity like white vinegar, but it has a better smell than and is easier to remove from the machine. You can either use fresh juice by squeezing lemons or purchasing an organic lemon juice. Like vinegar, make sure to do a couple of rinse cycles after descaling to remove the lemony flavor.

  • Citric acid – Like lemon juice, citric acid isn’t as pungent as white vinegar. However, it also isn’t highly acidic like the other two products. That means you won’t have to do multiple rinse cycles to remove any scents or flavors.

Once you chose your preferred descaler, below are steps for how to descale a commercial coffee maker:


  • Step 1. Mix the cleaner with water – Whether it’s white vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid, mix it with distilled water to make a solution. To cut down on acidic properties of the cleaning agents above, use 1/3 of the cleaning agent with 2/3 of distilled water. The total mixture should be able to fill your coffee pot.

  • Step 2. Pour the descaling solution in the machine – Pour your mixture into the machine’s water reservoir.
    Bunn Six-Hole Spray Head Replacement-How to Clean a Commercial Coffee Machine

                         Bunn Six-Hole Spray Head Replacement


  • Step 3. Start a brewing cycle – Once the descaling solution is added in the water reservoir, turn on the machine’s brewing cycle. The machine will operate as if it’s brewing a pot of coffee but will be slowly removing lime and hard water deposits.

  • Step 4. Discard full pot – When the brewing cycle has concluded, dispose the “brewed” cleaning solution.

  • Step 5. Remove the spray head – Once the descaling process is done, turn the coffee maker off and unplug its power cord from the wall outlet. Then, remove the spray head from the machine.

  • Step 6. Thoroughly clean the spray head and opening – Using a soft-bristle brush and warm water, scrub the spray head to remove any residue or clogs. Also, wipe down or scrub the opening of the spray head.

  • Step 7. Perform necessary rinse cycles – Plug the machine back in, and pour a pot of warm water into the machine. Start a brew cycle to remove any unwanted odors or flavors from the descaling solution. Repeat this process a few times depending on the acidity of the cleaning agent that you used.

  • Step 8. Reattach spray head – Following the rinsing process, turn the coffee maker off and unplug its power cord from the wall outlet. Then, reattach the clean spray head to the machine.

Cleaning a Commercial Coffee Machine Filter Funnel

The coffee filter funnel also attracts plenty of scale and residue over time. Clean the funnel at least once a week or after a thorough descaling. Using a soft-bristle brush or non-abrasive pad, scrub the filter funnel in warm water and dish soap.

If you notice scale deposits on the funnel, use warm water and a small amount of white vinegar, lime juice or citric acid with warm water to remove them. Make sure to scrub with warm water descaler before cleaning with soap and water.

Cleaning a Commercial Coffee Machine’s Exterior

The exterior of a commercial coffee machine can get dirty from time to time. Consider thoroughly wiping down the unit at least once a week by doing the following:


  • Step 1. Mix your cleaning solution in a spray bottle – Fill a spray bottle with a mix of 2/3 warm water and 1/3 white vinegar.

  • Step 2. Shut down the machine – Turn off the coffee maker, and unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

  • Step 3. Apply cleaning solution to the exterior – Spray the cleaning solution onto the exterior. Let the solution sit for about a minute.

  • Step 4. Clean off grime with baking soda – If there are any spots with grime or grease, apply a little bit of baking soda and scrub the area using a non-abrasive pad or soft-bristle brush.

  • Step 5. Wipe down with a microfiber cloth – After you apply the vinegar and baking soda, wipe the machine down with a damp microfiber cloth.

  • Step 6. Dry off the machine – Use a dry microfiber cloth or remove any remaining moisture from the exterior surfaces.


Please contact an authorized service agent who can help with all your commercial kitchen equipment needs.


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